Planet Earth II Crew Horrified To See 150,000 Antelopes Die In Front Of Them

By : Neelam TailorTwitterLogo

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Planet Earth II Crew Horrified To See 150,000 Antelopes Die In Front Of Them 55017UNILAD imageoptim Planet Earth II 1BBC

Planet Earth’s TV crew witnessed a tragedy in nature while filming a herd of Saiga antelope in Central Asia.

While filming at the calving grounds, the crew first witnessed the beautiful birth of hundreds of antelope, but within three days, 150,000 of them were wiped out, reports The Mirror.

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The producer described it as witnessing the ‘extinction of the species’ as the majestic antelope were killed by a very virulent disease.

A preview of Sunday’s grasslands episode…

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Producer Chadden Hunter said:

When we were out there in the calving grounds, with hundreds of thousands of females all giving birth at the same time, a very ­virulent disease swept through the population and killed around 150,000 of them in a matter of three days.

At the time we thought we were watching the greatest natural catastrophe that I’d ever heard of. We watched 150,000 of these magnificent animals die in front of us.

At the time we didn’t know if it was the final extinction of the species, which was devastating, emotionally, for the crew.

Planet Earth II Crew Horrified To See 150,000 Antelopes Die In Front Of Them 63121UNILAD imageoptim saiga carcassesSergei Khomenko/www.fao.org

The troubling photo above shows a mass grave of dead Saiga, which government teams buried in order to prevent any possible crossover of pathogens from the carcasses to other wildlife or domestic livestock, the Mirror reports.

For the David Attenborough documentary, the team had driven ‘deep into the middle of Kazakhstan’ for days, searching for the ‘amazing’ animal ‘that looks like it’s from another planet’.

Planet Earth II Crew Horrified To See 150,000 Antelopes Die In Front Of Them 28442UNILAD imageoptim Planet webAssociation for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan

Thankfully, this mass wipeout did not spell the end of the Saiga antelope species.

Chadden said:

We’ve since heard that the last few mothers and babies we filmed have survived. It was a potent reminder of how fragile yet resilient nature can be.

Here’s a teaser photo for this Sunday’s grasslands episode…you can’t miss an episode with baby lions in!

Planet Earth II Crew Horrified To See 150,000 Antelopes Die In Front Of Them 50519UNILAD imageoptim 11930940 high res planet earth iiBBC

A huge 9.7 million viewers tuned in to watch Planet Earth II last Sunday, compared with X Factor’s 7.6m.

Which is a pretty comforting stat!


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The Mirror

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